tv PBS News Hour PBS December 29, 2009 6:00pm-7:00pm EST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> brown: good evening. i'm jeffrey brown. president obama said a totally unacceptable systemic failure led to the attack on the u.s. airliner. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. on the newshour tonight, the president today promised to act quickly to fix flaws in the nation's security system. >> brown: we'll look at the clampdown at airports and the potential trade-offs of stepped-up screening.
test. >> spendthrift, it's an inconvenience to passengers. there are questions. >> what were the suspect's connection to yemen? >> ifill: and what were the suspect's connections to yemen, the embattled arab nation that has become a bastion for al qaeda terrorists. >> brown: then, ray suarez looks at a plan to fight poverty by improving education and healthcare south of the border. >> a mexican program designed to improve the lives of the poorest of the poor is being copied and studied around the world. i'll have a report. >> ifill: and the search for treatment for the mentally ill on the streets of india. >> brown: that's all ahead, on tonight's pbs newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour is provided by:
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and the william and flora hewlett foundation, working to solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> brown: president obama sharpened his criticism today of security failures that led to last week's attempted airliner bombing. he spoke as new information emerged today on the main suspect. margaret warner has our report. >> warner: the path that led to this christmas day scene at detroit metro airport came more clearly into view today. authorities in yemen reported that the nigerian suspect, umar farouk abdul mutallab, had spent extended periods in yemen. but they said there was no indication he might be trouble and they were never told he was on any kind of u.s. watch list.
>> ( translated ): we haven't received any further information concerning this person, that is to say, he is not on the yemeni list of most wanted suspected terrorists. he only visited yemen twice, his first visit was in 2004 and it lasted till 2005 and the second visit was last august and he left during the last week of december. he came under the pretense of studying the arabic language. security system. he said u.s. officials failed to act on a warning from abdulmutallab's own father. >> had this critical information was shared, it could have been compiled with other intelligence and a fuller, clearer picture of the suspect would have emerged. the warning signs would have triggered red flags and the suspect would have never been allowed to board that plane for america. >> an al-qaeda offshore shoot group claims it was behind the airliner plots-
nd had provided the home-made bomb that failed to explode. abc news obtained this photo of the bomb, reportedly a packet of the chemical petn, sewn into his underpants. today's "washington post" cited federal sources saying there was enough explosive in the packet to blow a hole in the side of the airplane, if it had gone off. there were also reports today of extensive internet postings by abdul mutallab. his facebook profile shows him dressed in a pink polo shirt and lists 287 people as "friends". but his postings on the islamic forum website painted a picture of a conflicted, lonely man. in january of 2005, after a time at a british boarding school, he wrote: "i have no one to speak too [sic], no one to consult, no one to support me and i feel depressed and lonely. i do not know what to do. and then i think this loneliness leads me to other problems." in other postings, he seemed be struggling to balance his upbringing, as the privileged son of a prominent nigerian banker, with becoming an increasingly devout muslim.
the emerging details left some in nigeria struggling to understand the how's and why's of what happened. nobody would believe before that a nigerian person would participate in such things, you know? >> warner: abdul mutallab remained today in a federal prison in michigan, but there were new questions about the kind of trial he'd face. republican congressman peter king of new york, on the house homeland security committee, said it would be a mistake to treat this as a criminal case. he called instead for a military tribunal. amid the new disclosures and controversies, the christmas day plot has already affected international air travel. this weekend, the u.s. transportation security administration or t.s.a. asked foreign airports to ratchet up security for flights to the united states. that caused security screening backups. at first carriers like air canada had to cancel some flights. then canadian authorities decided to limit u.s. bound passengers for now to one personal item and no carry-on
luggage to speed up screening. martin alilio flew in today from montreal to dulles international airport, outside washington dc. >> the only luggage which was allowed was a computer and a computer case and a carry on was to be checked in. it took quite a while to get through the check in and there were a lot of people waiting on the line. >> warner: yet the new rules seemed to vary, depending on where the international flight originated. passengers on an in-bound flight from korea, including jason and noelani alcoba, who started in burma, found heavier security when they transited through seoul. >> when we got to korea we had to go through the regular checkpoint from transfer connections, and after that, right before we got to the plane right before we boarded there was a bunch of security, immigration officers who checked all our bags as well as our bodies. >> warner: passengers on a flight from london reported in- flight restrictions as well.
alistair garland arrived in washington from brussels by way of london. >> so once we got on the plane they made an announcement about halfway through saying the final hour everybody was going to have to be seated and nobody could go and get their bags and nobody could go to restrooms. >> warner: domestic passengers reported fewer delays, and security lines were moving smoothly at dulles. >> there didn't seem to be any heightened security or anything like that. >> warner: though the passengers at dulles seem patient about the new restrictions, the larger question remains: would these stepped up airport and in flight measure put in place over the last few days have actually foiled the would be christmas day bomber? >> i think some of the measures are short term, knee-jerk reactions. of course all these measures can be out in place like blankets on the lap and not going to the toilet, but that is not going to stop a terrorist from doing things. >> warner: transportation expert kenneth button is a professor of public policy at george mason university. he says what's needed is better intelligence and sorting of people on government watch lists.
>> the list is long, there are probably people missed and in this case there was miss communication. he was classified as a potential dangerous person without being a serious threat. there must be more detailed analysis and assessment of these individuals. >> warner: republican congressman peter hoekstra of michigan, on the house intelligence committee, called today for deploying the latest screening technology. current screening machines don't detect explosives. the t.s.a. has tried a variety of devices, with mixed results. so-called puffer machines use sprays of air to search people for bomb residue, but they've had repeated breakdowns. yet full body machines that see under people's clothing have raised privacy concerns. that's kept them from being deployed widely in the u.s. or europe. only 40 such devices have been installed at u.s. airports. the t.s.a. plans on installing 150 more next year. >> brown: and margaret is with me now in our studio.
so the president called it a systemic failure? what else have you learned about what led up to that? >> it's apparent that the first step actually worked. the father came, gave his warning at the embassy at nigeria, and within 24 hours they met at the embassy, deemed it credible, and sent the warning on to washington. >> they did what they were supposed to do? >> they did, yes, very quickly. >> then? >> then at the nctc, as it's known, it gets murkier. the collective judgment was made that he would be put on the broadest possible terrorist -- potential terrorist list, which is 550,000 names, and it does not mark you for special screening at airports. what it does mark you for is they essentially open a file on you, and i'm told that the nsa began trolling to see if his name popped up, and other agencies were actively pursuing
the yemen connection, but one state department official said to me that's where we were on december 25th. >> not clear yet why he was not put on a much more restricted watch list? >> no, it wasn't. this official told me it was the collective judgment of everybody involved, all the relevant agencies, that so far though the report was credible, there wasn't anything to corroborate it, no derogatory information that would meet the standard of going on the so-called screening list. that's still a huge list of 400,000, but that's basically decided through a separate acronym-laden agency or consortium run by the fbi, and that list is about 400,000. it appears, piecing all this together, that what was underway was the investigation that would ultimately perhaps nominate him to be put on this other list. >> all right. and then lastly, for now, there's the visa issue, right? what do we know about why the state department did not revoke the visa? >> i asked that question.
state says they have the authority to revoke a visa, but that in terrorism cases they take their lead from the collective wisdom of these various intelligence agencies. one official pointed out to me, there are times when we've wanted to revoke a passport or visa, and the fbi says, no, don't, we want to follow this guy. they did not revoke the visa. the one glitch that appears to have occurred is that on the original alert sent to washington, it was not mentioned that he even had a visa. now, presumably that became part of his profile in this database, but not in the original alert. >> all right. margaret warner, thanks a lot. >> we'll have more >> ifill: we'll have more on the failed bomb plot later in the program. but first, for the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan in our newsroom. hari. >> sreenivasan: the death toll from a deadly suicide bombing in pakistan, grew to 43 today. thousands gathered in central karachi for funerals from yesterday's attack. it struck a shiite procession marking the holy day of ashoura. authorities appealed for calm today after shiites rioted in the wake of the bombing.
in afghanistan there was word an afghan soldier shot and killed a us soldier, at a base in the west. afghan authorities said a member of the afghan army opened fire as an allied helicopter was about to land. two italian soldiers were wounded in the shooting. an investigation was under way. a crackdown on unrest in iran expanded with new arrests of opposition leaders. the roundup began yesterday, after at least eight people were killed in widespread protests on sunday. today, thousands of people rallied in support of the government. they echoed calls to punish opposition leaders for fomenting unrest. the latest to be arrested included relatives of nobel peace laureate shirin ebadi and opposition leader mir hossein mousavi. a representative of iran's supreme leader ayatollah ali khamenei went further. he called for executing opposition leaders. china executed a british man today on drug smuggling charges. british leaders had pressed for clemency, over claims the man suffered from mental illness.
we have a report from nina nannar of independent television news. >> reporter: despite last minute appeals for clemency from his family and the foreign office akmal shaikh's life was ended here by lethal injection in the early hours of this morning, the chinese authorities in the end refusing to accept claims that shaikh was mentally ill, hours later the chinese ambassador left the foreign office in london after what was described as a difficult conversation, china accused of failing in its basic human rights responsibilities. refused to even undertake a medical assessment prior to proceeding with this execution. by any standards of human rights at the beginning of the 21st century that cannot be acceptable. >> >> reporter: akmal shaikh a 53 year old father from north london was convicted of drug smuggling after 4kg of heroin was found in his suitcase when he arrived in urumshe in northwestern china.
supporters say it had been planted there by professional criminals taking advantage of shaikh's bipolar disorder, but today the chinese foreign ministry said they'd seen no evidence that shaikh was mentally ill adding they hoped this would not damage relations between both countries. certainly been strong, the chinese warning today that no one has a right to comment on its judicial affairs. >> but emails written by shaikh and witness statements do prove mental illness according to one psychologist contacted by campaigners most probably a manic phase in which his ability to think rationally, control his impulses, think through the consequences of actions was severely compromised. >> many years ago, he was simply a successful businessman. now he's the first european to be executed in china for half a century, and is family is left saddened and stunned.
>> sreenivasan: china executes more people each year than any other country. north korea confirmed today it has detained an arizona man for illegally entering the country. family members identified the man as 28-year-old christian missionary robert park. supporters said he crossed from china into north korea on christmas day, urging the release of political prisoners. the state news agency said today he is being investigated for illegal entry. on wall street today stocks broke a 6-day winning streak. the dow jones industrial average lost more than a point to close at 10,545. the nasdaq fell more than 2 points to close at 2288. those are some of the day's main stories. i'll be back at the end of the program with a preview of what you'll find tonight on the newshour's website. but for now back to gwen. >> ifill: and still to come on the newshour: the nigerian man who tried to blow up a us plane and his links to yemen; raising healthier, better educated children in mexico; and help for the mentally ill in india. but first: striking the right balance between security and sacrifice: the costs of preventing the next attack. for that, we turn to mary schiavo, former inspector
general of the department of transporation. she's now an aviation attorney in private practice, and represents many of the families whose relatives were killed in the 9/11 attacks. and david schanzer. he's the director of the triangle center on terrorism and homeland security at duke university and the university of north carolina. i want to start by asking you what the president had to say today. he said there was a systemic failure, a mix of human and systemic failure. what does that mean to you? >> well, that means that there's more than one fail. obviously first and foremost that people followed the screening that failed, but obviously the various watch list. the watch lists were targeted and revealed to be a problem in the summer of this year. there was a special report de by the office of inspector general, congress has addressed these issues, they knew that the screening wasn't good as well, so many things failed.
thus his calling it a systemic failure. >> david schanzer is there a technology in place that could have avoided this kind of failure? >> well, the full body scan machines can do a better job and they can improve the likelihood of finding something like that, but there's no 100% screening device that's going to be able to pick up everything. and i think you have to ask yourselves before you deploy, multibillion dollar technology, whether or not you get more bang for the buck out of things like intelligence, enhancement watch listing, more international cooperation. >> let's back up a minute. you said there's no 100% guarantee, and the president in fact said that himself today. but wouldn't people be satisfied knowing that since 9/11 we were at 75%, 80%? >> well, it's all probablistic. the question, though, is that we have an adaptive adversary that
whatever technology we deploy, they're going to take steps to try to circumvent it. the problem is if you invest huge amounts of money in these technologies, they might become obsolete when the next type of threat comes up six months or a year from now. >> what do you think about that, mary schiavo? >> well, that's really not the way i would approach it at all. obviously we have to invest in the technology, because it's a technology that can spot so many of these threats. not 100%? well, it could be very close to 100%, because there are four different machines with four different technologies that can spot explosives and explosives materials and components of bombs. here we can't say we rely on profiling and intelligence, because that's what we were relying on september 11th, 2001. we don't always fit the profile. there have been young, beautiful, north korean women to someone from indiana in 1933 blowing up planes. we cannot rely on profiling and intelligence because we've
proven that over the last 70 years it's failed. hardware is our last line of defense, and can be pretty close to 100%. >> what about that visa issue? if perhaps someone had taken seriously the father's complaint, isn't that something that could have caught before he even got to a machine? >> absolutely. it could have been caught. it should have been caught. once again, that points out the possibility of human failure. and that was pointed out, the government knew these watch lists were a problem as early as this summer. there was a report to congress. it has been declassified. it's on the internet, for heaven's sakes, that there was a real problem. this was the same thing we saw 8 1/2 years ago on september 11th, 2001. we weren't even sure who these people were. some had visas, some did not. whenever you rely on a named-based system, which is what the watch list is, that can also be circumstance crumb 70ed by phony documents and trading off documents once you're in a sterile area. >> david schanzer, seems like a lot of costs we're talking about here.
the cost of the actual physical equipment, of getting the money. the cost of what you give up once you agree to this sort of -- what some people consider to be an invasive technology. what would you say the costs are? >> well, you've named some of them. the fact of the matter is we live in a world of limited resources. so we have to make tradeoffs and choices about which set of policies and which sets of technologies we want to deploy. your other guest mentioned four different types of machines. well, i don't think we're going to be able to deploy four different new types of machines, not only in the united states, but we would need to deploy these things globally to truly protect us. i'm not saying we shouldn't have screening devices. absolutely we should. all i'm saying is that you have to consider the full package and figure out what set of policies is going to do the best at reducing the risks that we all face. >> mary schiavo, we saw saying,
yes, we are, that they can be deployed, but let me ask you this, at what cost in terms of civil liberties? >> well, the cost of civil liberties, the great thing about machines is they treat everyone the same. the machines don't violate our civil liberties. what violates civil liberties, when you say we're going to pick out this person and look at them, pick out this person and look at her, etc., the machines treat us all the same. the only civil liberties issue so far that makes any sense when it reveals the shape of the human being, but even that the machines have gotten better, and the private parts can be shaded or not shown, and those machines have improved as well. and as far as putting machines in place for the atlanta olympics in 1996 we had four ctx machines to screen bags for explosives. now we have thousands of them, so we can do it as a country. by the way, the cost at ground zero in 9/11 alone was about $100 billion. i think people would say exactly, we ought to spend at least that, and 10 times that to make aviation secure, because it's been the target of choice
for terrorists since 1919. >> david schanzer, we're talking about a cost versus benefit equation here to some degree. is this $100 billion cost, whatever price tag you put on it, worth what we might give up in order to implement it? >> just to make one point, the privacy protections that your guest mentioned might have made it more difficult to detect this particular device. i just think that when you have limited resources, you have no choice but to make these risks tradeoffs. maybe some types of devices would be useful, but, again, this device, the body scanner is used in secondary screening. it isn't used for everybody. so at some point you are picking who is going to go through that device and who isn't. unless you're, again, willing to deploy it and have everybody in the world who's traveling at that point be screened.
so that is a very expensive endeavor. again, the adversary is just going to simply adapt and try to find a different way to attack us. >> mary schiavo, assume that you're not going to agree for this moment on this question of the machines. what, other than that, do you think can be done in order to address this kind of problem before it arrives again? >> well, the thing that we had first and foremost, we also had air marshals. when we didn't learn the passenger's name immediately, i was hoping it was an air marshal, because on september 11th, 2001, we had 32 air marshals. now we're promised of thousands. i don't want to say the exact number. we need to deploy the air marshal technology, pilots have been trained to carry weapons, and we need to go back on some of the basic technology. some airlines
have marshals on every airplane, they don't just rely on machines. they've taken out terrorists on flights with air marshals on the planes in flight. that's successful too. >> earlier reports said there was no air marshal on this particular flight. david schanzer, what should be done short of putting this kind of high-tech machine in every single airport checkpoint? >> well, with $100 billion you could buy a lot of international cooperation. the british took this individual off of the list of the visa people that could get into their country. so you'd need a lot more international cooperation. and that requires staffing, more people to review visa applications abroad, better watch listing procedures, more cooperation, intelligence. those in the long run will be more cost effective than screening devices. >> david schanzer and mary schiavo, thank you both for joining us. >> thank you.
>> thank you. >> brown: now, more on the country that's become the latest focus of terrorism fears: yemen. we begin with washington post reporter sudarsan raghavan in yemen's capital, sanaah. i talked with him a short time ago by phone. >> sudarsan raghavan, welcome. so it's now known that mr. abdul abdulmutallab in yemen reasonable, but apparently not considered a threat. can you add to what he was doing there? >> sure. he arrived in august to take an arabic language course at a language institute in soig's old old -- in sanaa's old city. this is the second time in yemen, he had taken a similar course in 2005. what we know is that he attended a course in august and september, but then abruptly disappeared. the people i spoke to at the school today said that in october -- from october on he
didn't show up to his courses. and that's basically where the investigation is heading. the yemeni authorities are trying to piece together where he was between october and december. >> now, what about the group that has taken responsibility here called al-qaeda in the arabian peninsula? what is known about it? how strong, how much -- what its leadership is like? >> sure. al-qaeda in the arabian peninsula has its roots in a 2006 jail break in which 23 al-qaeda operatives had escaped from a maximum security prison in the capital. one of them was -- is now the leader of al-qaeda in the arabian peninsula. in january of this year the yemeni branches and
the saudi arabian branch merged to create this entity. it's a very organized united. they have a monthly online magazine. put out mccain kays and videos on -- commune kays and videos. they have roughly 400 hard-core followers, and include people from france, germany, australia, i've been told, as well as foreign fighters from egypt and pakistan. >> can you how much popular support it has there? i mean, you're on the ground. what do you see in terms of any support for it or feeling for it on the streets? >> well, you don't see any graffiti or outright, you know, support for al-qaeda, but you're also talking about a country that has sent owe over the years has sent thousands of fighters to fight in afghanistan and iraq, basically fighting to
liberate muslims from nonmuslims. in this sense there's this great sympathy for al-qaeda, because of their core message of protecting muslims and fighting for muslims, but at the same time most yemenis don't want to see suicide bombers in the streets every day. >> what about yemen as a failed state, whether it's the kind of place where terror groups can fill a power vacuum? what do you see, again, just around the country, or looking at how government works or doesn't work? what do you see? >> yeah. i wouldn't called it a failed state. i would say it is a failing state. the government is facing numerous challenges. it's got a civil war in the north. it seals with a successionst movement in the south.
the economy is crumbling. huge amounts of unemployment and poverty. the oil resources are dwindling as is the water. they're facing numerous challenges. there's vast stretches of the country in which basically ungoverned, and which provides a perfect haven and recruiting ground for al-qaeda militants. >> and what about any possible u.s. involvement? there's still questions about to what degree the u.s. is helping in any of the recent airstrikes. is that something you see or is that behind the scenes? what can you tell us? >> it's very much behind the scenes. it's very much of a covert war, you might say. the americans are -- have acknowledged to helping the yemenis with intelligence and other assistance. the yemenis on the ground claim they've seen american jets and missiles hitting yemeni territories, but both the americans and yemen government
has denied this, but certainly what is clear is that the american support is escalating, and in the wake of this -- the attack in detroit the attempted bombing in detroit, most -- many here expect this -- the american involvement to increase. >> all right, sudarsan raghavan of the "washington post," talking to us from yemen, thank you very much. >> my pleasure. >> brown: and now we broaden out the view of yemen and al qaeda. barbara bodine was u.s. ambassador to yemen from 1997 to 2001, a period that included the attack on the "u.s.s. cole". she's now 'diplomat-in- residence' at princeton's woodrow wilson school. fawaz gerges is professor of middle eastern politics at the london school of economics and author of two books on 'jihadism'. >> barbara, a failing state is just how we heard yemen described. what would you call it? >> i would call it a fragile state. yemen is described as the almost always failing state. its economy has always been in a shambles. it's always
been resourceful. it's always had ungovernable hinderlands. it's always had a weak central government. one of the miracles of yemen is that it's never failed, but also never quite succeeds, and the issue before us now is not to write it off as a failed or even failing state, but try to see what we can do to keep it from going to the wrong side of the failure curve. >> fawaz gerges, what do you see? what does that say about the potential vacuum of power there? >> i think the situation is extremely volatile and fragile in yemen. i mean, every time i visit yemen i see a deteriorating security situation, a declining social and economic situation. what has happened is that really this particular storm has been brewing for the last few years, and it seems it's finally reached a climax.
the conversion of social and political and economic crisis, and also multiple tribal ideological and political divisions that are pushing the country to the brink of all-out war. when you talk about the economy here, we need to remind our viewers that more than 40% of yemenis now are unemployed. the majority live in absolute poverty. the ability to deliver social goods has been diminished considerably. they don't have the ability to overt adversities, and you you have a mini civil war in the north by a powerful tribe. you have the south that basically is trying to break away from the union. so you have this conversion between a deepening social and
economic crisis and also political divisions. and what al-qaeda has been trying to do, in particular in in the the last two or three years is basically embed itself within those local conflicts to basically integrate itself, and basically lead the fight against the regime. the vengeance does not lie in the fact that you have dozens or 200 or 300 jihadists basically in yemen. yemen has always had a large contingent of jihadists. my fear itself is that the jihadists in yemen now are trying to lead the struggle, the internal struggle, that's taken place against the yemeni state. >> ambassador bodine, do we know yet -- when we refer to this as a regional wing of al-qaeda, which is how it's been referred to -- >> right, right. >> -- do you know what that means? how much independence does it have?
does it pursue its own agenda or somehow centralized with al-qaeda in afghanistan and pakistan? >> right. i don't think that we know exactly what its relationship is to al-qaeda central. there are two wings of al-qaeda in the arabian peninsula. it sounds nice to say that they had a declaration in january where they combined forces, but you still have a saudi wing and yemeni wing. the yemeni wing is primarily a domestic issue. it's got its own agenda, its own look and set of grievances. then you have the saudi wing. the saudi wing includes the leadership. they're pursuing a completely different agenda. and what their connection may be to pakistan, afghanistan, we i don't think we know, but their agenda is different. the question is how far they can take this thing as a joint effort. i'm not sure i fully agree with the professor that al-qaeda is
trying to get ahead and take the leadership on the various elements of tension and strife in the country. i think they have a limit to how far they can go in terms of popular -- >> does it surprise you in a case like this, here we have a suspect who's an african coming -- >> yeah, right. >> -- and so it looks as though al-qaeda is branching out away from local concerns. >> well, i think this is the most troubling aspect of the nigerian attempt, is they've been an al-qaeda presence in yemen for at least 15 years, but it's always been the warehousing of fairly low-level al-qaeda operatives. if these stories are true, the stories that he went to yemen, that he got the technology there, and then was sent to the states, this would be the first time that there's been a nonal-qaeda central attack on the u.s.
and that is a qualitative change, even if it was successful. >> and professor gerges, do you see this ace bumpup of al-qaeda in the arabian peninsula? and what should be done? >> i don't think we have really evidence. i mean the weight of evidence, the jury is still out. the big point to highlight -- and here i want to say a few words about the internal. i mean, the truths is that al-qaeda is a byproduct of the deepening social and economic crisis in yemen itself. i mean, let's take what the south has been trying to do in the last one year or so. one of the top leaders of the separate movement in the south itself is a jihadi. and you have in the eastern provinces, also the jihadist footprint has become greater in the last two or three years. what i'm trying to suggest is that the conversions of social and economic difficulties and
political divisions and the inability of the yemeni state to basically respond to the challenges could easily plunge yemen into all-out war, unless -- unless -- the international community, the united states and arab and muslim states construct a political vision in order to deal with the deepening structural economic and social crisis in yemen. what i mean by that, the worst thing that the united states can do is to basically view this particular challenge in terms of counterterrorism. this is not just a counterterrorism question. it's about inclusive governance, about pervasive corruption, it's about pervasive poverty. it's about the fact that the state itself is trying to use military mite to suppress local identities and local challenges to its central authority. >> briefly a last word ambassador bodine, what do you see the role for the u.s. to step in here? >> i think there's two roles.
one is to address th the immediate security issue, but if that's all we did that would not solve the problem. we need to work with yemen, and i would agree with the professor, with the international community to try to work on those elements of legitimacy as opposed to just the authority of the state. work on the delivery and the social services, work on the inclusion of the population, work on the corruption problem. that's what i meant by getting ahead of the failure curve. we learned a lot in afghanistan and iraq about that security was not enough, that you had to work on the protection of the people, and their livelihood, and we need to sort of take those lessons and apply them pre-crisis, prefailure in yemen. >> all right, barbara bodine and fawaz gerges, thank you both very much. >> thank you. >> ifill: now the mexican government's program to lift people out of poverty that's
being copied around the world. ray suarez has the story. >> suarez: in the state or morelos in central mexico, the small town of santo domingo ocotitlan is rich in tradition. in elaborate costumes, villagers parade through the town's square during festivals of dance. but for all its history, santo domingo is very poor. most residents are subsistence farmers. homes are modest, women scrub their wash over rocks at communal basins. for generations policy makers have debated, what makes poor people poor? is it the simple fact of not having enough money, or is it the choices they make, the way they live? a pioneering program here in mexico is trying to fight poverty both approaches by giving the poorest mexicans cash and by trying to change the way they live.
orcasitas and hundreds of women getting cash started 12 years ago by the mexican government- the program called oportunidades or opportunities gives a small subsidy every other month to poor mothers, like santo domingo resident, sixta orcasitas. but there is a catch: one that separates oportunidades from traditional welfare plans, orcasitas and millions of mothers like her across mexico must first sign a contract to raise healthier, better-educated children. orcasitas has six children both she and her husband, eraclio bello, never made it past grade school. to get their cash, they must keep their youngest children, 15 year old karina, and 13 year old alex, in school. they must also bring them in for
regular check ups at the health clinic. and sixta orcasita must participate in monthly nutrition classes so she can cook healthier meals for the family. attendance is monitored and the monthly allotment of cash about $60 for each child plus a monthly food stipend will be quickly pulled if mothers fail to get their children to school or clinic. the goal is to break the cycle of poverty. santiago levy, now with the inter-american development bank, came up with the so called "conditional cash" plan. >> these families were trapped in some kind of an inter generation mechanism by which parents were poor, children were poor and the next generation were also poor. the kids were so poor they had to be picking coffee in the fields and they couldn't go to school. and they didn't go to school and then when they were adults they couldn't get a good job. and if they couldn't get a job they would be poor and then their children would have to work to help support the family
and on from generation to generation. >> suarez: it's a cycle karina and alex's father wants to end. bello's first four children dropped out of school, now he wants the cash from oportunidades to keep his youngest children out of the fields. >> ( translated ): i hope they want to continue studying and to get ahead i'm prepared to help them anyway i can and i hope they make a better life for themselves that i have for myself. and that they are better prepared for life than we were. >> suarez: to sweeten the pot, oportunidades pays the family more money each year karin and alexis move into a higher grade and increases allowances for school supplies. >> the amount of money that the kid brings into the household matters for the household. so in a way you are not really providing additional income you are changing the source of the income. what you are saying is that your kid will be equally valuable to you if he's in the school as
opposed if he is in the street begging for money. >> suarez: of the 185 children in santo domingo, 108 of them are enrolled in opportunidades. nationally, more than 25 million people, one quarter of the population of mexico, are enrolled. not surprisingly, most families are from rural areas like santo domingo, where living is often hand to mouth, and where officials say the conditional cash program has been most effective. school enrollment jumped 85% in some rural areas just two years after the cash program was introduced. rates of malnutrition and anemia have dropped, as have childhood and adult illnesses. at santo domingo's middle school, asuncion ortiz, a teacher here for sixteen years, says changes from the cash program are easy to see.
>> ( translated ): little by little the children started coming with more uniforms, better shoes, before their teeth were very bad because of their bad eating habits, but now, in part because of required health clinic appointments their eating habits are better, and so their teeth are a lot better. >> suarez: the conditional cash transfer program centers on women, who, officials say, are the key to the long term health of a family better educated women raise healthier children. so the program turns tradition on its head, young girls, who for years were considered a financial drain on the family, are now worth more financial assistance than boys. for example, sixta ocasitas gets slightly more money for karinas school attendance then for alexs. mexico's deputy secretary of social development, dr gustavo merino, explains why. >> if you get girls who have now been able to school they are
going to be not just able to get a better a job and so on but they are going to be better at probably raising their kids, they are going to have less kids, they are going to take more care of them in terms of nutrition and health and prevention. >> suarez: the program gives cash only to mothers because, supporters say, they're more likely to spend the cash on their children while fathers, it was feared, might not bring it back to the family, even use it the money for alcohol. as a result, officials say women have been empowered. >> resources are given to the mother. not to the father, so there has been a change of power within the household. >> suarez: but opportunadades has detractors too. mario luis fuentes, an economist in social welfare at the university of mexico, says the government should be more focused on job creation - because even for the poor kids who finish their education, mexico still has few jobs.
>> so the whole question is at the end of the secondary and high school these young people wont have the opportunities of a job, of decent work. >> suarez: the world bank is heavily promoting the program last spring giving mexico a $1.5 billion loan. helena ribe manages the latin american region for the world bank. >> the evidence is very compelling, and in all my many years of experience working in development in many regions of the world, i have never seen a program that receives so much interested and is being replicated in as many countries as this model of conditional cash transfer. >> suarez: in fact, at least 30 countries have now adopted oportunidades, most of them in latin america. cambodia and thailand have programs, and officials from south africa and china have contacted mexico to investigate. for her part sixta orcasitas says the short term benefits,
like putting food on the table are as important as her hopes for the future. >> ( translated ): the money we get from them helps a lot, right when we run out of money, money comes in and we can buy the things we need to get by. >> suarez: even with the programs successes, health advocates point out that conditional cash programs are just one piece in the complex equation needed to end poverty. >> brown: finally tonight, a report on mental health care in india, a population of more than a billion people and a handful of professional care givers. it comes from our partners at globalpost, an international news website. the reporter is mark scheffler. ♪
>> this man has a problem. he's convinced an evil spirit is trying to strangle him. so he's come to a town about an hour and a half outside deli. here on the grounds of a temple he found someone he hopes can help him, a wild-eyed faith healer that claims to be channeling deities that will expel the demons from the man's life. >> my mind is not working. someone is trying to strangle me, to suffocate me. >> for many indians, places like these are all that's available when it comes to solving what might otherwise be called a mental health problem. in india, the chronic shortage of psychiatrists has become a glaring issue, even as the country makes great economic strides. by some counts, there are only 4,000 psychiatrists countrywide to treat indians who suffer from depression or other mental illnesses. this doctor, the chief psychiatrist at max super
specialty hospital in dehl i sees 400 patients a day. >> most of these psychiatrists are all over india. so when you start going from the urban to the rural areas, accessibility is not there. then all these voodoo things, faith healers, start coming in. >> beyond the issue of stigma, the poor often don't have access to doctors. then more well-healed enclarifies, psychiatric treatment isn't covered by insurance. then there's a civil matter of blaming not science, but the spirit world for one's mental state. >> it is thought that if you're not doing well, that you're being in this current life, it may be the past life of your pain, or something you've done in a -- you know, in your early
youth. so you're paying -- you're getting a punishment for that. >> to address the shortage of psychiatric care among the poor in dehli, there's a street clinic in a bustling, though deeply impoverished part of the city. last year they got the authority to inject psychotic medicines on the sidewalk into those without families or those not stable enough to give consent with themselves. this is one such person. he's shown signs of improvement in the four months he's been receiving medication. doing i>> we thought it's a gooa to get treatment here where people are rather than getting people to the hospital. that meaningful smile. >> psychiatry is gaining more credibility among
india's other medical professionals who thought for years antidepressants didn't work. that acceptance could boost the ranks of practitioners here. meanwhile a traditional methods endure. back at the temple, the faith healer seems to have helped this couple who claims they're no longer suffering from depression. >> when we came to this place, we were helped by this man. we were treated. >> while science may balk at calling this a cure, this doctor believes it can be a form of legitimate therapy among a population that desperately
>> but in some places throughout india the goal of integrating local superstitions with big city medical practices seems every bit as elusive as the spirits that still haunt the unhealed. >> ifill: again, the major developments of the day. authorities in yemen reported the suspect in the airliner bombing plot spent long stretches in yemen in recent years. an al-qaeda offshoot there has claimed responsibility for the christmas day attack. and the death toll from a deadly suicide bombing in pakistan. the newshour is always online. hari sreenivasan, in our newsroom, previews what's there. hari. >> sreenivasan: on our web site tonight, margaret warner told us more about her day of reporting on airline security, find that conversation on the rundown. there are additional stories and photographs from our recent trip to mexico with ray suarez, on
our global health page. and on art beat, jeff talked to poet and music legend patti smith. a new documentary about her life airs tomorrow night on the pbs program, pov. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. jeff. >> brown: and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm jeffrey brown. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. we'll see you on-line, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you, and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour is provided by: >> what the world needs now is energy. the energy to get the economy humming again. the energy to tackle challenges like climate change. what is that energy came from an energy company? everyday, chevron invests $62 million in people, in ideas-- seeking, teaching, building. fueling growth around the world to move us all ahead. this is the power of human energy. chevron.
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